A minority of the 20 planners disciplined by the CFP Board of Standards filed for bankruptcy in recent months, proving the wisdom of the board's decision to change the way it treats such cases.
Most of the censures related to flawed professional practices: unsuitable recommendations, misleading marketing materials.
Bankruptcy was only a factor in nine of the cases, which carried penalties ranging from letters of admonition to permanent loss of the right to bear the CFP mark.
The worst cases were truly stunning in their failure to live up to fiduciary standards. One planner went around in-house compliance rules and had his FINRA license suspended for repeat infractions.
The very existence of these infractions proves two things. First, the expansion of the financial planning approach has brought the service mark to a broader pool of advisors -- with different business models.
And as the approach broadens, the aspirations of everyone in the profession may not be so lofty as they once were.